“What’s My Dentist Mean When Talking About Occlusion?” Blog Jaw Pain & TMJ Restorative Dentistry During your appointments at our Wilmington dental office, you may have heard your dental team talk about “occlusion”, and you may have thought to yourself, “What are they talking about?”

Basically, occlusion is just a dentist’s way of describing the way your top teeth come in contact with your bottom teeth when your mouth is closed. More commonly, occlusion is referred to as your bite.

Why Does Occlusion Matter?

The relationship between your upper and lower teeth is important to your overall dental health. A bite that’s misaligned can lead to a variety of issues including:

  • Loose teeth
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Damage to existing dental restorations
  • Receding gums
  • Headaches
  • And more

What Causes a Bad Bite?

Any number of things can cause a bad bite. Sometimes, people are born with a bite that, if left untreated, could cause any number of problems later in life. Other times, an accident, clenching or grinding teeth, or missing teeth can change your bite into one that’s uncomfortable and leads to pain or the need for dental repairs.

Signs & Symptoms

There are some key things to look for that may indicate you have a problem with your occlusion such as:

  • Pain if you clench your teeth together
  • Discomfort in your jaw joint or near your ears
  • Worn down teeth
  • Upper teeth that fall behind the lower teeth (underbite)
  • Top teeth that cover most or all of the bottom front teeth (overbite)


There are several treatment options to correct occlusion. Each person’s situation is different and the appropriate treatment can vary greatly. It’s best to talk with your dentist in Wilmington to determine which may be best for you.

If you suspect your bite is the root of any discomfort you may be experiencing or any dental problems you have, we recommend calling our dental office in Wilmington. We’ll evaluate your bite and talk with you about any treatment options that may help correct it.

Top 4 Ways to Stop Biting Your Cheeks Blog Dental Hygiene Jaw Pain & TMJ Cheek biting is a common habit and is actually very similar to nail biting.

Typically brought on by stress or when nervous, biting the inside of the cheek — or the lips or tongue — can be painful, and in certain cases, concerning for the dental team at our Wilmington dental office. We’re here to explain why and offer up some of the best ways to stop.

Identify the Cause

Before we discuss why biting any of the tissues in your mouth is bad for you, we should identify why it happens in the first place. If you catch your cheek in between your teeth while chewing and talking only on occasion, there’s probably nothing to be too concerned about. However, if this happens to you chronically, or if you nibble on your cheek constantly throughout the day, there may be reason for concern.

Why Is It Bad?

First, any continued trauma to oral tissues can result in painful mouth sores which can become infected. Infection in the mouth is never a good thing and can actually be quite serious. Second, if you bite yourself quite often while eating, you may suffer from a misaligned bite (malocclusion). Malocclusion can lead to more serious problems like chronic headaches, a sore jaw, TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), and shifting of teeth. When your teeth don’t fit together neatly, there’s a greater chance of your cheek, lip, or tongue finding its way in between them causing you to crunch down on it (Ouch!).  

Ways to Stop

No matter what the cause may be behind biting your cheeks, there are a few tips you can try to help stop it.

  • Figure out when you do it. If your lip or cheek biting is a result of stress or nerves as opposed to a bad bite, start paying attention to when you’re doing it and work to either avoid those triggers or work to consciously stop yourself.
  • Find a support system. Sometimes, you may not realize you’re biting so often. Talk with trusted friends or coworkers about trying to stop the habit and ask them to help you identify when you do it.
  • Do something! Another common reason behind biting is boredom. If you find yourself nibbling away while watching TV, get up, get active, and do something!
  • See your dentist. If you believe your bite may be contributing to your chronic biting, talk with your dentist in Wilmington for advice on how to help.    

If you suffer from chronically biting your cheeks, lip, or tongue, schedule an appointment at our dental office in Wilmington. We’ll check any active sores you have for infection and help treat them if necessary, and work with you to determine not only what’s causing you to bite so often, but also the best ways to help you stop.

Accepting patients from Wilmington, Pike Creek, Hockessin and beyond. 

“Why Does My Jaw Get Stuck Sometimes?” Blog Jaw Pain & TMJ You’re feeling tired, and you know a yawn is working its way out.

As your mouth opens involuntarily and the yawn escapes, you wait for your jaw to slowly close shut. But it doesn’t. It’s stuck. It’s scary. It’s painful. At our Wilmington dental office, we know just how terrifying this can be, especially if it’s never happened before. We’d like to give you some advice on what to do if it happens again and also educate you on what may have caused it in the first place.

Why Does it Happen?

There a few possible explanations to what causes the jaw to feel locked. First, your bite may be placing unnecessary pressure on facial, neck, and jaw muscles. When the top teeth don’t line up with the bottom teeth the way they’re supposed to (malocclusion), nearby muscles can become irritated, inflamed, and tight. This makes them unable to function properly and results in the locking sensation.

Your jaw itself may also be causing the problem. The anatomy of the jaw includes not only the bone and muscles, but also cartilage that keeps the jaw bone from rubbing against the skull. Sometimes this cartilage becomes damaged either because of an accident or, more often, as a result of clenching or grinding. Once damaged, it can slip over the bone blocking the hinge joint from functioning.

What to Do When it Happens

There are several things you can try to relax the joint and get some relief.

  • Apply heat to loosen muscles
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling
  • Consider an appliance to limit the damage caused by grinding, like a nightguard
  • Lower stress levels to minimize clenching

If this is an ongoing problem for you, see your Wilmington dentist.

Signs & Symptoms

While symptoms can differ from person to person, and not everyone experiences jaw lock, there are a few common signs you should be aware of.

  • Pain while chewing, yawning, or opening your mouth
  • Earaches or headaches
  • Clicking/popping sensation or sound when opening and closing your mouth

You don’t need to live in fear of worrying if the next yawn or the next meal is going to cause your jaw to get stuck. There are ways to help. Call our dental office in Wilmington to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss some of the symptoms you’re having, how often you experience them, and evaluate your jaw for any problems. After we’re able to diagnose the situation, we’ll work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Accepting patients from Wilmington, Pike Creek, Hockessin.